Govt stops labourers’ applications to travel home

Govt stops labourers’ applications to travel home

Migrant workers from Raichur and Yadgir districts leave Mysuru for their hometown by a KSRTC bus on Tuesday. DH Photo

Karnataka has suspended the process of receiving online applications from migrants seeking to return to their native states.

The move came even as a large number of migrant labourers from different parts of the country are keen on returning to their native states and also clashed with police on Monday evening.

Before the government stopped receiving new applications online, as many as 2.13 lakh migrant labourers had sought to return to their states. While around 85,000 of these are of labourers from Odisha, 82,000 are from Bihar.

According to sources, the state stopped receiving applications from migrant labourers from Monday evening based on the directions by the government. The large-scale movement of labourers had jeopardised several government and private infrastructure projects, which was among the reasons for the decision, sources said.

Also, some states were not keen on having the migrant population back due to fears of rapid surge in Covid-19 cases. “They have raised concerns on inadequate quarantine facilities to monitor the thousands of labourers who will return,” sources said.

The decision to stop the movement of migrant labourers was a ‘win-win’ as construction projects will pick up pace while guaranteeing employment to the migrant labourers, sources added.

Revenue Minister R Ashoka told reporters that workers from Bihar had been convinced to stay. “They were convinced after we assured them of work.”

The government appointed nodal officers to aid repatriation of Indians stranded overseas on a priority basis, even as some consulates have advised Indians to extend their visa term. IPS officer Umesh Kumar and IAS officer C N Meena Nagaraj have been appointed to coordinate with various agencies and ensure the repatriation of Indian citizens.